Bay Area home sales fell in October to their second-lowest level in two decades, a result blamed largely on concerns about jobs and the economy.
The nine-county region last month recorded the sale of 6,122 new and existing homes and condominiums, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego.
The total was down 23 percent from October 2009. In the last 22 years, only 2007 had an October with lower results, with 5,486 homes sold.
The trend was similar in Sonoma County, which last month recorded the second-lowest sales in 15 years.
“Part of what we’re seeing is the hangover effect from the expired homebuyer tax credits, which spurred many to buy in the first half of the year,” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president. “But that effect is fading. Now the real hurdles to more normal sales levels are the lack of meaningful job growth and the concerns many potential buyers have about job security and the overall economy.”
“It’s why ultra-low mortgage rates, alone, haven’t turned things around,” he said.
For the first time in 12 months, the Bay Area’s median price fell lower than a year earlier. The median dipped to $383,000, 1.8 percent from October 2009.
The median price for September was $395,000, 3 percent higher than last month.
At the the height of the market in the summer of 2007, the median price reached $665,000, DataQuick reported. The median subsequently fell to a low of $290,000 in March 2009. Analysts attribute the tumble to both a decline in home values and a dramatic shift in sales toward foreclosures and other lower-priced properties.
Home flipping last month increased slightly, analysts said. Of homes sold on the open market last month, 2.5 percent had been bought and re-sold within a six-month period. That was up from 2.4 percent in September and 2 percent a year earlier.
Flipping rates ranged from 1.1 percent in Napa County to 3.9 percent in Sonoma County.
Foreclosure resales – homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – rose to 30 percent, from 28 percent in September. Foreclosure resales peaked at 52 percent in February 2009.
— Robert Digitale